** Mike McIntire & Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "Two years after the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision opened the door for corporate spending on elections..., large corporations are trying to influence campaigns by donating money to tax-exempt organizations that can spend millions of dollars without being subject to the disclosure requirements that apply to candidates, parties and PACs.... A New York Times review ... found that corporate donations — many of them previously unreported -- went to groups ... dedicated to shaping public policy on the state and national levels.... Some of the biggest recipients of corporate money are organized under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, the federal designation for 'social welfare' groups dedicated to advancing broad community interests."
Jackie Calmes of the New York Times: "For much of the past year, Republicans assailed President Obama for resisting the Medicare spending reductions.... Yet since the Supreme Court upheld the Democrats' 2010 health care law, Republicans, led by Mitt Romney, have reversed tactics and attacked the president and Democrats in Congress by saying that Medicare will be cut too much as part of that law." The GOP will scream about anything. The headline calls this GOP move a "delicate pivot." Dear NYT Headline Writer: this is not ballet-dancing.
Robert Pear of the New York Times: "Starting in 2014, the [Affordable Care Act] ... offers subsidies to help people pay for insurance bought through markets known as insurance exchanges. At issue is whether the subsidies will be available in exchanges set up and run by the federal government in states that fail or refuse to establish their own exchanges. Critics say the law allows subsidies only for people who obtain coverage through state-run exchanges. The White House says the law can be read to allow subsidies for people who get coverage in federal exchanges as well. The law says that 'each state shall' establish an exchange. But Washington could be running the exchanges in one-third to half of states, where local officials have been moving slowly or openly resisting the idea.... James F. Blumstein, a professor of constitutional and health law..., said the dispute over subsidies involved a serious legal issue." CW: the GOP continues to prove former Rep. Alan Grayson's point: "The Republican Health Care Plan: Don't get sick. If you do get sick, die quickly."
New York Times Editors: Sen. Minority Leader Mitch "McConnell needs a new excuse for filibustering [the Disclose Act] again. But his suggestion that President Obama and Democrats want disclosure in order to compile a list of 'enemies' is repugnant.... Mr. McConnell's charge that the president has loosed the Internal Revenue Service on his enemies is breathtaking. After several years of indifference, the I.R.S. is finally examining whether these 'social welfare' groups are abusing their tax-exempt status by spending anonymous donations on political attack ads.... Crossroads GPS and the like exist for no other purpose than to run political ads. This is a clear violation of the tax code...." Here's McConnell's "repugnant" op-ed.
** "Jail the Bankers." Ben Chu of the Independent interviews Joe Stiglitz: "The Barclays Libor scandal may have shocked the British public, but Joseph Stiglitz saw it coming decades ago. And he's convinced that jailing bankers is the best way to curb market abuses."
"Crime of the Century." Robert Sheer of TruthDig: "Modern international bankers form a class of thieves the likes of which the world has never before seen. Or, indeed, imagined. The scandal over Libor — short for London interbank offered rate -- has resulted in a huge fine for Barclays Bank and threatens to ensnare some of the world's top financiers. It reveals that behind the world's financial edifice lies a reeking cesspool of unprecedented corruption. The modern-day robber barons pillage with a destructive abandon totally unfettered by law or conscience and on a scale that is almost impossible to comprehend." CW: and do notice how the U.S. Justice Department let Barclays off with a fine. The fix is in. It is always in. ...
... Robert Reich has more: "This is insider trading on a gigantic scale." ...
... Another Outcome of One-Percent-o-nomics. Brian Vastag of the Washington Post: "There are too many laboratory scientists for too few jobs. That reality runs counter to messages sent by President Obama and the National Science Foundation and other influential groups, who ... have called for U.S. universities to churn out more scientists.... One big driver of that trend: Traditional academic jobs are scarcer than ever.... A decade of slash-and-burn mergers [in the pharmaceutical industry]; stagnating profit; exporting of jobs to India, China and Europe; and declining investment in research and development have dramatically shrunk the U.S. drug industry, with research positions taking heavy hits."
Glenn Greenwald issues an I-Toldja-So on Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.
Iowahawk: "Jubilant scientists at the DNC's High Speed Word Collider (HSWC) announced today they have conclusively disproven the existence of Roberts' Taxon, the theoretical radioactive Facton particle that some had worried would lead to the implosion of the entire Universal Health Care System.... The landmark experiment in Quantum Rhetoric began early this week after legal particle cosmologist John Roberts published a paper in the Quarterly Journal of Tortured Logic that solved the long-debated Pelosi's Paradox in Universal Health Care Theory." Includes diagram of the HSWC.
Where Are They Now? If you don't know who the girl in this high school snap is, you've had a Rip Van Winkle experience. Welcome back to the world. Rip: the answer is in yesterday's Commentariat.
Dan Balz of the Washington Post: "Obama’s message has shifted [since 2008]. The urgency in his appeal is grounded in his conviction that this is an election about ideas and policies and political philosophies, that the country faces a crucial moment and a clear choice." CW: so glad Obama caught on.
Richard Stevenson of the New York Times: "The contrasting images of the week could hardly have been more evocative. There was Mr. Obama on Thursday at a carefully scouted location, the Kozy Corners diner in Oak Harbor, Ohio, downing a burger and fries and chatting with a group of working-class voters.... The next day..., he reminisced about a Greyhound-and-train trip he took around the country with his grandmother when he was 11.... And there was Mitt Romney on Thursday, roaring across Lake Winnipesaukee on a powerboat large enough to hold two dozen members of his family who had gathered for a weeklong vacation at his estate in New Hampshire. On Sunday, Mr. Romney will raise money ... in the Hamptons, with his final stop a $75,000-per-couple dinner at the home of David Koch." ...
... "The Republicans' $3 Million Weekend in the Hamptons." Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times: "Mr. Romney is expected to pull in $3 million from an event at the Creeks, the estate of ..., where tickets range from $5,000 for lunch to $25,000 for a V.I.P. photo reception." And there's more! "The jewel of the day is Mr. Perelman's [estate]. With 9 fireplaces, 40 rooms and an expansive wine cellar, his estate makes the Koch spread look modest by comparison. Sitting on 57 acres..., when it last went up for sale in 1991 (for $25 million), The New York Times described it as 'the largest and most spectacular estate in the Village of East Hampton, with more than a mile of frontage on Georgica Pond and a view of the Atlantic Ocean beyond.'" ...
The Sparrow Project: "At 4pm on July 8th, 2012 a diverse coalition of activists and occupiers from across New York will descend upon a fundraiser for presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Southhampton home of billionaire David Koch."
The American people probably aren't going to fall in love with Mitt Romney. -- John Boehner, Speaker of the House
Nazis! Bangor Daily News: "Gov. Paul LePage [RTP-Maine] used his weekly radio address Saturday to further his long-running criticisms of the federal Affordable Care Act and explain why he is delaying its implementation in Maine.... LePage said the measure, which he called Obamacare, 'raises taxes, cuts Medicare for the elderly, gets between patients and their doctors, costs trillions of taxpayer dollars and kills jobs.' LePage also took a shot at the individual mandate part of the law, which requires everyone to purchase health insurance or face penalties, by calling the Internal Revenue Service 'the new Gestapo.'" With audio.
Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post on the political dynamic in North Dakota, where the economy is booming & the unemployment rate is 3 percent. "Republicans were expected to have an easy pickup in [the Senate race in] North Dakota, a state that has not supported a Democrat for president in more than four decades -- and one in which President Obama is deeply unpopular. But the state has one of the country's most persistent records of ticket splitting, and a Mason-Dixon poll from early June showed a statistical tie, with [Democrat Heidi] Heitkamp leading [Republican Rep. Rick] Berg 47 percent to 46 percent. Heitkamp led 51 percent to 36 percent among independents." A good read.
Answer to July 9 PixQuiz: Rand Paul. Scary, right?
New York Times: "With a torpid job market and a fragile economy threatening his re-election chances, President Obama is changing the subject to tax fairness, calling for a one-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for people making less than $250,000. Mr. Obama plans to make his announcement in the Rose Garden on Monday...."
New York Times: "Ernest Borgnine, the rough-hewn actor who seemed destined for tough-guy characters but won an Academy Award for embodying the gentlest of souls, a lonely Bronx butcher, in the 1955 film 'Marty,' died on Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 95."
Reuters: "Another day of scorching temperatures blanketed the United States from Iowa to the East Coast on Saturday, but forecasters said some of the areas hit hardest by the prolonged heat wave would soon get relief. More than two dozen people have died...."
New York Times: "An international conference meeting [in Tokyo, Japan] on Sunday pledged $16 billion for civilian needs in Afghanistan, but for the first time insisted that the Afghanistan government reduce corruption in order to receive all the money." ...
... New York Times: "The United States declared Afghanistan a major, non-NATO ally on Saturday, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton personally delivering the news of Afghanistan's entry into a club that includes Israel, Japan, Pakistan and other close Asian and Middle Eastern allies."
New York Times: "At a gathering of business executives in Cambodia this week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to urge the expansion of American trade and investment across Asia, particularly in Southeast Asian nations on the periphery of China."
Society News. New York Times: Rep. Barney "Frank, 72, and [Jim] Ready, 42, were married in Newton, Mass., part of Mr. Frank's district, on Saturday in a low-key ceremony on the banks of the Charles River. Gov. Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts officiated. The guests included Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, as well as Senator John Kerry and Representatives Dennis J. Kucinich and Steny H. Hoyer." CW: Yes, very low-key. ...
... When Having an Entourage Can Make You a Social Outcast. Boston Globe: "President Obama was not invited because Frank said he did not want the Secret Service presence to inconvenience the town or his guests." CW: exactly the reason I didn't invite President Obama to watch the Fort Myers fireworks from my roof deck on the 4th.
Reuters: "The U.S. Episcopal Church's House of Bishops on Saturday approved a proposal that, if it survives a final vote, would give transgender men and women the right to become ministers in the church. The House of Bishops voted at the church's General Convention to include 'gender identity and expression' in its 'non-discrimination canons,' meaning sexual orientation, including that of people who have undergone sex-change operations, cannot be used to exclude candidates to ministry."